10 Scholarship Mistakes to Avoid

10 Scholarship Mistakes to Avoid | JLV College Counseling Blog


Everyone wants to win a scholarship because it can help you pay for college. However, unfortunately, students make a lot of mistakes when it comes to scholarships. Increase your chance of winning scholarships by avoiding these ten scholarship mistakes.


DON’T think you’re too young.
If younger students are thinking they want to go to college, start a tradition of searching for and applying for scholarship. While the majority of scholarships are open to high school seniors and current college students, there are scholarships and contests open to elementary and middle school students.

DON’T stop after you are enrolled in college.
Just because you are enrolled in college doesn’t mean you should stop looking for scholarships. Many colleges increase their tuition and fees every few years, if not every year. In addition, financial aid can change. Continue applying for scholarships to offset the cost of attendance.

Don’t apply if you don’t meet the qualifications.
Read the eligibility requirements carefully and make sure you meet all of the requirements. If you do not meet the requirements, the scholarship committee may disqualify you right away and not give you a chance to win the scholarship. Don’t waste your time.

Don’t skim through the instructions.
Pay close attention to the directions to ensure you meet all of the application requirements. Make sure to submit all of the required documents. In addition, pay close attention to the essay question to ensure you don’t answer only part of the question. If anything is missing from your application, you may be automatically disqualified.

Don’t ignore smaller scholarships.
Many students want to focus all of their time and effort on large scholarships. It’s easy to make this mistakes because you may think, “If I spend a lot of time on this huge scholarship, I’ve got one full year of college paid for.” Unfortunately, many other students think this way and the competition for large scholarships will be great. Instead, apply for smaller scholarship as well. Smaller scholarships will probably have a lot less competition than the large scholarship.

Don’t only go after national scholarships.
National scholarships are great because they are easy to find. However, if they are easy to find, many other students have found them as well and there will be a lot of competition. Narrow down the competition by going after local scholarships. Check in with your school counselor or financial aid office to learn about scholarships only open to students in your area. Some of these local scholarships may even only be open to your school. That is a lot less competition!

Don’t rush through the application.
For most of us, rushing does not produce the best results. In addition, many scholarships committees can spot an application that has been rushed. Take your time when applying to scholarships to ensure you are submitting the best possible application and essay you can. And, don’t forget to edit and proofread.

Don’t wait until the last minute.
Things happen and waiting until the last minute could mean you miss the deadline. In addition, other things can come into play when thinking about deadlines, such as time zones and specific time requirements. Lastly, what happens if the power goes out and you have no access to the Internet to submit your application electronically? Give yourself some leeway when applying for scholarships to ensure you meet the deadline.

Don’t fall for scams.
Unfortunately we live in a day and age when there are people who prey on others to gain something. Scams have hit so many areas of life and that includes scholarships. You can’t win a scholarship without applying, but some scammers may contact you to congratulate you for winning – all you will have to do is send some personal information to get the money. Review the scholarship providers to judge their legitimacy and always go with your gut feeling – if it doesn’t feel right, skip the scholarship and move on to another scholarship.

Don’t give up.
I don’t think there has ever been a student who won every single scholarship they applied for. Unfortunately, you are not going to win every scholarship. However, you also cannot win a scholarship if you do not apply. Stay focused and continue applying. As you continue applying for scholarships, it will get easier.

Apply for a scholarship today and make sure you don’t make these mistakes!

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